One of the first actions of the incoming House Republican majority will be to adopt revised rules for operating the chamber in 2011 and 2012. In releasing the proposed rules, the House Republican leadership indicated that the changes are intended to increase transparency and make it easier to cut federal spending. Among the proposed rules is a repeal of the TEA-21 guaranteed funding requirement for annual federal highway investment and the House point of order that enforces the guarantee. These guaranteed investment levels are based on revenue flowing into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).
Prior to the adoption of this rule in 1998, it was common for Congress to limit HTF spending to offset deficit spending in other parts of the overall federal budget. Because HTF spending was limited the balance grew and highway users were not receiving the benefit of the fees they paid for highway improvements.
Republicans will vote on this package of rule changes on Tuesday, Jan. 4, and industry associations are urging contractors, government officials and engineers to contact House Republicans and point out the damage this rule change would have on state transportation programs, the transportation construction industry and employment.